- Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times
- Mark Cuban says he talks to Steve Bannon over text from time to time.
- The billionaire said he doesn’t “have a problem meeting and talking to” Bannon because we have to “get past all of this divisive tribalism.”
Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban told Business Insider on Friday that he and Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist for President Donald Trump, exchange text messages occasionally because it’s important to talk “to both sides” and “find some common ground.”
Cuban was responding to a Daily Beast story published Friday that said Bannon and Cuban have discussed the billionaire’s possible 2020 bid for the presidency, with Bannon suggesting he should run as a Democrat.
Cuban, the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” said Bannon did “not directly” suggest to the billionaire that he should run in 2020 as a Democrat. He mentioned an October interview with TMZ in which Bannon said Cuban would be taken seriously as a presidential candidate if he ran “as a Democrat,” but not if he ran as a Republican.
“He said it in an interview,” Cuban said. “Not directly to me.”
Cuban added that he and Bannon “haven’t talked” since a meeting the pair had at the King Cole Bar in New York City’s St. Regis Hotel two weeks after Trump’s election victory last fall. Cuban did not mention what the pair discussed then.
“We trade short texts every now and then but that’s it,” Cuban said. “All that said, I don’t have a problem meeting and talking to him. If we want to get past all of this divisive tribalism, it’s going to take someone talking to both sides and trying to find some common ground.”
Four sources familiar with the pair’s conversations told The Beast that the two have been in touch for months discussing Cuban’s possible 2020 bid, which he has teased at length for months. The sources said Bannon encouraged Cuban to run as a Democrat.
Bannon did not return requests for comment from Business Insider.
“They talk regularly,” Sam Nunberg, a former Trump adviser close to Bannon, told the outlet. “They’re very similar. They have a lot of synergy there. Even when [Steve] went to work for Trump, Mark would be interviewed and say nice things about Steve.”
Talk of Cuban’s 2020 bid is ramping up
- Scott Olson/Getty Images
At The New York Times’ DealBook conference in New York Thursday, Cuban said if he were to make a bid for the White House, it would be independent of the two major parties. But the billionaire said in a recent Fox News interview that if he were to run for president in 2020, it would “probably” be as a Republican.
At the Thursday conference, Cuban said the reason why he hasn’t committed to running in 2020, a prospect he has teased for months, is because of concerns about how a run would affect his family. Asked what his wife says when he brings up the idea of running for president, Cuban said she “asked me if I want to stay married,” adding that he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to persuade her.
“But I think I have a year to find out,” he said.
During an appearance at an Atlanta conference last month, Cuban said if he “was single” he’d “definitely be running.”
An August poll showed Cuban leading Trump in a prospective 2020 race. The survey, from the left-leaning polling firm Public Policy Polling, showed Cuban, running as the Democratic presidential nominee, with a small 42% to 38% edge over Trump.
“These are always entertaining,” Cuban told Business Insider in an email at the time. “As I have said before, I would only run if I can come up with solutions for healthcare, the plight of working families, and reducing the stress levels of our country. It’s possible. When I have something to offer, I will.”